Breton looking to bring Wanadoo back into the fold

24 Feb 2004

France Télécom yesterday moved to regain control of Wanadoo, almost four years after floating shares in the ISP to help pay for a raft of acquisitions during the telecoms boom. The telecoms giant, which already owns more than 70% of Wanadoo, said yesterday it has put two alternative offers before the internet company’s minority shareholders – a cash offer of EUR8.86 per share (representing a 17.2% premium on Wanadoo’s closing price of EUR7.56 on Friday) and an all-share proposal of seven France Télécom shares for each Wanadoo share. France Télécom chairman and chief executive Thierry Breton is keen to redefine his company’s focus as a complete telecoms service provider, and to this end has been busy over the past twelve months divesting a raft of non-core assets to help reduce the operator’s crippling debt pile and rebuild its portfolio of services around traditional wireline and wireless telecoms services. France Télécom is expected raise up to EUR4 billion by floating Wanadoo’s yellow pages business later in the year.